I still don't own Chuck. Not sure who does at this point. Maybe Subway.
This is the story of Chuck and Sarah's eldest daughter Kate's struggles on her own. It directly follows Chuck vs. The Dark Intersect. In a way, it's the story of Sarah – the one that I could never bring myself to tell. Kate has some advantages over Sarah when she was that age. Kate has a loving family and friends. She has Casey and newly elected Senator Janice Casey living next door. But she also has some huge disadvantages. She is a newbie in a ruthless town. And she has some serious family enemies to deal with - people who wouldn't mind destroying her to get back at her parents - especially because of the secret mission that they performed some ten years ago. Let's see how far she falls – and how far Chuck, Sarah – and Casey will go to get her back. Charah fans – don't fret. There will be lots of that. Chuck and Sarah are in the bad guy's sights as well. As always, it won't be hard to pick out my bad guys - well, most of them anyway.
Fair warning – This might get fairly dark. I've always held back writing Sarah's dark side. Not so sure I feel the same reluctance with Kate. I'll be sure to post warnings on chapters that have violent or sexual situations. I'm going to keep this T – but I might dance on the edge for a bit. If you ever get the chance, PM my good friend Poa and thank her for teaching me how to dance, lol.
I want to say – I'm honestly not trying to make a partisan political statement with this. I see Janice as a Republican – just like Casey. That also works best for the story. A Republican who had the potential to carry California would become very, very powerful. In today's political landscape, a Republican presidential candidate who could carry California would almost be assured of winning. And that means that the bad guys who are desperately trying to stop her – aren't Republican. But I certainly don't mean to infer that ruthlessness or dirty tricks are limited to one political party. I don't believe that's true.
All of the normal Bill promises still apply – it just may not seem like it for a while. And, as always, if you jump to any conclusions early in a BillAtWork story – well, you only have yourself to blame, lol.
If you enjoyed this or any of the stories on this site, please take a second and send the author a review.
The Victory Party
There was one thing that was abundantly clear – Janice Beckman-Casey could sure deliver a rousing speech. Well now – make that Senator-elect Beckman-Casey. The polls had only closed barely a half hour ago – but the issue hadn't been in any doubt for weeks – every since the opponent stopped spending money and pulled all of his ads.
The ballroom was absolutely packed – and more people were waiting outside hoping for the chance to get in. The atmosphere was completely festive. Everywhere you looked, balloons and confetti filled the air. An ensemble band was already waiting for the speech to be finished so they could start the evening's entertainment.
Sarah stood on the platform and grinned at her friend. Her days in the Secret Service had taught her one thing for sure - Victory parties were a lot more fun when you actually won the election. Janice was clearly enjoying herself. Sarah sometimes had a hard time believing how smoothly Janice had made the transition from sexy-kick-ass to polished political professional. She was truly in her element. In fact, it really didn't matter that most of the men weren't really listening to her anyway. Janice still had a way of mesmerizing the men. After all, she was still quite the beauty… Sarah also had to grin as she watched Casey standing there holding her hand. As much as Janice was enjoying this – Casey was wishing that he was anywhere else. But Sarah had to admit. He looked very handsome in that blue suit. And you had to know him pretty well to know that the smile was forced. That alone was a testament to how much he loved her.
"I just received a call from the President," Janice said as soon as she could calm the cheering crowd that had packed the ballroom enough to be heard. "He offered his congratulations on our huge victory tonight."
That sent the crowd into another frenzy.
Janice stood smiling at the podium for a long moment, just allowing the crowd's enthusiasm to wash over her. "And…" she finally tried to continue. "And… And he pledged to work with us. Even though we are on different sides of the political aisle, we agreed to find ways to work together to protect this great country."
Chuck turned to his daughter Kate with his own grin. "Of course the President called her," he said, shouting to be heard over the roar the crowd that was now chanting 'U-S-A U-S-A'. "He's afraid that she's going to be taking his job."
The smile on Kate's face faded slightly. "Dad," she shouted back. "Please don't say anything like that to the press. If they suspect that we're thinking about a presidential run in two years, it's all they will talk about."
Chuck put his hand on Kate's shoulder – but his smile didn't fade. "Don't worry," he said. "I would never say anything. For one thing, why would the press want to talk to me? Who am I?"
Kate's smile returned to its full force. "Yeah," she said sarcastically. "You're nobody - just maybe the biggest hero in the nation's history. Too bad nobody knows it."
Sarah leaned in with her own grin. She was making no effort to keep the pride from her voice. "Katie," she said. "Don't you think you can enjoy yourself for one night? You don't have to be Aunt Janice's handler any more tonight. The election is over. You won by the biggest margin in the whole country. I know that you were anxious to prove to everybody that you were up to this challenge – but you have. This is a party. Relax a little."
Kate just grinned at her mother. "Sorry, Mom," she said. "I'm not sure how it is in the spy business – but this is politics. You can never relax. Not for an instant."
It was the stereotypical smoke filled back room - except there was no actual smoke. That had gone out of style years ago. But, make no mistake, it was clearly the type of room where political careers were made – and ended. Inside, a group a middle aged men sat around a television watching election coverage.
As we continue to watch Senator-elect Casey's victory party, let's continue our round table panel discussion. Although it had been widely expected for some time now, this victory officially shifts the balance of power in the Senate. That means all of the powerful committee chairmanships switch parties. What does this mean for the President's agenda?
It's huge, Jim. The main thing that it means is that now any legislation can be bottled up in…
"All in all," one of the men sighed, "tonight didn't turn out too badly. We kept the House. We expected to lose control of the Senate. At least, it is only by one vote. That's not too bad for a midterm."
"I suppose," another man replied. "But this Janice Casey is going to be a real issue for us. With her background, she is almost assuredly going to be on the Intelligence Committee. You know what that means…"
"That's not even the worst of it," the first man interrupted. "She might eventually ask some embarrassing questions on the committee – but they are clearly anointing her for a presidential run. Imagine if she becomes president. She'll become commander in chief. She'll have access to all of the Ring's activities. She'll declare war on us. We're not powerful enough yet to fight the president openly."
And now we're joined by Senator-elect Casey's campaign manager and soon to be chief of staff, Kate Bartowski. Ms. Bartowski is the youngest campaign manager in history. Thank you for joining us, Kate. Congratulations on your amazingly effective campaign. I can tell that you're very happy tonight.
Thank you, Jim. Yes we're very pleased. Now it's time to get to Washington and start doing what the great people of California elected Senator-elect Casey to do. The hard work has just begun.
Tell me. There's a lot of talk about a possible presidential run…
"She has to be stopped," the second man sighed. "But how? If our real agenda becomes public, we'll get drummed out of our own party. We don't have any way to attack her. We tried smearing her character in the campaign. That completely backfired on us. We took a virtually unknown state representative and made her out to be some kind of sexy kick-ass super model war hero."
"It's worse than that," the original man grumbled. "Now she has the most broad based coalition of any candidate in the country. She's the darling of the Right-wing national security crowd – as well as the Left leaning feminist movement. The Soccer moms absolutely worship her. The night she went on Letterman was his highest rated show – ever. She just won a senate seat by the largest margin in the country. If she turns California red…"
"Then we're dead," one of the men sighed. "There is no way for us to win without California. The only hope is for a scandal of some kind - maybe a sex scandal."
"She's far to savvy for that," the second man said. "She has been around the block way too many times. That's how we got into trouble with her in the first place. Every time we mention sex and Casey in the same breath, her poll numbers go up two points."
"Would somebody turn the fucking channel?" one of the men shouted. "I can't stand listening to that snot nosed kid grinning like that. Isn't it past her bedtime?"
"I think it is past her bedtime," someone replied. "But take a look at her. I sure as hell wouldn't mind tucking her in – maybe a couple of times. Imagine – twenty-one and chief of staff for a senator. What ever happened to paying your dues?"
"Wait a minute," said the first man. "Maybe that's the answer. Casey is too savvy to fall for anything - but this kid isn't. Maybe she can be compromised in some way."
"So what if she could be? Chiefs of Staff mess up all the time. Casey will just dump her. It would be news for a day – at most."
"No way," the man replied. "Do you know who that is? It's Sarah Walker's daughter. I think we all recognize that name. Bartowski is far more than just a staff worker. She is a best friend. Senator Casey treats her like her own daughter. She will do anything to protect her."
"Anything? Even give up the possibility of becoming president?"
That definitely changed the tone of the room. Now there were smiles all around.
"Let's find out."
Kate's eyes anxiously searched the room. This was the back room – where the invitation-only private party was being held. Well, private might be a little over stating it. There were still a couple hundred or so people there. But it was surely more private than the crazy mob that was packed into the main ballroom. And certainly the food was a clear notch better – and the drinks flowed freely. There were still lots of press walking around – but at least there were no cameras. Finally Kate found who she was looking for and approached her.
"I just saw your interview," the woman said with a dazzling smile. "Congratulations, sweetie. You were superb. You played him like a violin."
"Thanks, Aunt Elise," Kate said as she wrapped her arms around her. "I'm sorry that Uncle Joe and the boys couldn't make it."
"Yeah," Elise said. "Well, it is going to be a late night – and the boys have school tomorrow. Where's Paul?"
Kate sighed. She now knew the real reason why Uncle Joe had stayed home. One thing that she learned from her mom in Vegas explained something that she had always wondered about - why Janice and Joe always seemed to avoid each other. There was never any open hostility – they just both clearly implicitly agreed not to ever be in the same place for very long. She also knew why Elise was, not so subtly, trying to change the subject. "Paul's around someplace," she said, forcing a smile on her face. "He knows that I'm working. Chuck Junior is keeping him busy for me. At least he's good for something."
Kate had seen many pictures of Elise when she was younger. And naturally, she had grown up with her Aunt Elise constantly around. There was no question but that she had always been uncommonly beautiful. But Kate had to admit – she was now absolutely stunning. Even though she was in her mid-forties – she could easily pass for twenty-nine. Her mom said that it was because of the glow that she always carried on her face after she married Joe. Aunt Janice never failed to correct her. She said that there must be some other reason. It became a good way for her mom to get under Aunt Janice's skin – and it was used quite often. But, whatever the reason – Elise was gorgeous. Even her dress was impeccable – a spaghetti strap burgundy number with a modest slit and even more modest neckline – but it had heads turning wherever she walked.
Elise just smiled knowingly. "I talked to your mom," she said. "I'm so happy that she finally told you about everything. There were so many times when you were growing up that I wanted to talk to you about – well, about things. You don't want Paul to see how much you're getting hit on tonight. You're trying to hide it from him, right? I've been there, you know?"
Kate's shoulders noticeably sagged. "Oh my God," she said, her voice just above a whisper. "Aunt Elise - I've been hit on more tonight than the rest of my life combined. They are not even trying to be smooth. That creepy guy from the Post was the absolute worst. I have his complete set of fingerprints on my butt. Is this what Washington is going to be like?"
Elise reached over and rubbed Kate's back gently. "I'm afraid so," she said. "They are going to be all over you. You're wrong about one thing – they are trying to be smooth. You're just so gorgeous. It flusters them. I hate to be the one to tell you this – but tonight is nothing. We're in a public place. Wait until they get you in private. You do realize that there is a limit to how much of that crap you have to take?"
"I know," Kate sighed. "I just don't want to start anything tonight. The press would eat that up. They would point to it as an example of my inexperience causing issues. That's all we need."
"Have you talked about it to your mom?" Elise asked. "Or to Janice? Trust me, Katie. I know how it feels to be pawed on – and have no way to get out of it. It's not fun."
Kate looked at Elise frantically. "Please, Aunt Elise," she said. "Please don't say anything to either of them. They still think I'm fourteen. I can handle myself."
Elise smiled. "I think you'd be surprised at how much they would understand," she said. "After all, they both went through it. But in the meantime, you know that you can always talk to me, right?"
Kate just nodded.
"I mean it, Katie," Elise said. "Anytime of the day or night – no matter how silly you think it is. Call me and we'll talk about it. I promise it won't get back to your mom."
Kate had to blink the tears out of her eyes. "Thanks," she said. "That means a lot to me. Aunt Elise, could I ask you for another huge favor?"
That snapped Elise's head up. "Of course," she said. "What is it?"
Kate smiled. "Uncle Casey," she said. "Tonight is so not his thing. He's had a few glasses of scotch... and well, you know what that does to him. If he blurts out that Aunt Janice is planning on running for president… we've got big problems. Could you maybe go talk to him for a while – and hopefully keep the press away from him? You're the only person who can control him. I'm sorry to ask you this at a party…"
Elise just held out her hand to stop Kate. "Don't worry, sweetie," she interrupted with a grin. "You have enough things to worry about tonight. I've got this one. After all, I've been controlling your Uncle Casey for over twenty years now."
"Thanks, Aunt Elise," Kate said with a sigh of relief. "You're a life saver. Make sure that you tell your guys how much I miss them."
Elise got a twinkle in her eye. "Robbie really wanted to come tonight," she said. "He has such a crush on you."
Kate grinned knowingly. "I know," she said. "He's so cute. Tell him I said hi – and that in two years, the girls will be crawling all over him. I'll be so jealous."
"Two years?" Elise asked in mock horror. "He'll only be fourteen."
It was quite a while before Janice finally led Kate into their private suite. Naturally, security was very tight. They needed an armed escort to even get on their floor. It was something that Kate didn't think she would ever get used too. Janice didn't seem to even notice. Once the door closed behind them, they both visibly relaxed.
"How do you do it?" Kate asked. "How can you keep up that relaxed smile all night?"
Janice just grinned. "Seduction training," she replied. "Just think of the press as a mark – and tell them what they want to hear."
Kate grinned back. "Maybe I should take seduction training," she said. "Because I want to scream."
Janice's smile faded – a little. "Don't even kid about that," she said. "Your mom would bury my body in a shallow grave. She's already pissed at me for telling you about Cleveland. You wanted to talk to me. Is there something wrong?"
Kate paused for a long moment – and the smile definitely left her face. "I've been doing some thinking," she said. "Please don't misunderstand - I really appreciate the faith that you've shown in me. But the fact is that my age is becoming an issue in the press. They are using it to question your judgment. Maybe we should think about picking a chief of staff who has more experience. I'll understand."
Janice immediately got serious. "What are you telling me?" she asked. "Be honest with me. Are you getting cold feet about moving to Washington? I thought that this is what you wanted."
"No way," Kate said as she grabbed Janice's hand. "This is my dream job. I just feel like I'm robbing you of something. That maybe you deserve someone with more experience - someone who can do the job better. And the truth is – I love you, Aunt Janice. And more than that, I admire you. I don't want to cheat you out of anything. You can seriously be president. You need the best people around you."
Janice just wrapped her arms around Kate. "Katie," she said. "Let me tell you a story. A good friend of mine was in a similar situation once. She was tasked with doing a tough job – with someone who she loved. And she thought for a long time that she was cheating him – that someone else could do the job better. It kind of made them both miserable for a long time."
Kate just nodded.
"But they were patient," Janice continued. "And what she eventually found out was pretty simple - that loving someone actually makes you perform in the job better - that you'll do things for someone that you love far more than someone you only see as a job. And just like your dad needed your mom to protect him – I need you to protect me. I saw you running around the room tonight like a chicken with her head cut off - attending to every detail – and do you know what I thought?"
Kate shook her head.
Janice withdrew enough to smile at Kate. "I thought that I was the luckiest person in the world," she said. "I thought that I couldn't possibly have a better person working with me. You couldn't pay someone enough to care that much – you only get that with someone who loves you. So I expect your butt to be on that plane Thursday morning at ten. Are we clear?"
Kate just grinned – and nodded.
"And Kate," Janice continued. "I know that I don't say this nearly enough. I'm not sure why… But you know how very much I love you, right?"
Kate nodded again.
"I know people say that you got this job because of that," Janice said. "They're just jealous. Please don't listen to them. You deserve this. Your campaign was brilliant."
That was what Kate needed to hear. She had to blink the tears out of her eyes. "Thanks, Aunt Janice," was all she could get out.
Kate and Janice just held each other for a long moment. "There is also something that you should know about," Kate finally said. "The press is starting to call my Mom, Aunt Ellie, and Aunt Elise your court. They are calling you the Retro Homecoming Queen and her court."
"Oh lord," Janice laughed. "What did your mom say about that? I don't even think that Ellie voted for me."
"I don't know," Kate said. "I'm afraid to tell her. I think that Aunt Ellie voted for you. I heard her and Dad talking about how hard it was. I don't think that Uncle Devon did…"
"Please let me tell your mom," Janice said with a laugh of her own. "How do you think we should play this?"
"Please let me tell her," Janice said with a laugh of her own. "How do you think we should play this?"
Kate grinned. "I think we should ignore it," she said. "For now anyway. Hopefully our opponents will pick up on it. If they do, I've already prepared a press release detailing the people that they are mocking. Two war heroes and a woman who put herself through medical school. We'll compare that to some of their accomplishments."
"They'll look foolish," Janice said.
"Yup," Kate said. "Their sexist attitude is the gift that just keeps giving. It's going to make you president."
Janice pulled her in tightly again. "And you think that you're too inexperienced," she whispered incredulously into Kate's ear. "That is absolutely brilliant. So here is what I want. No more work tonight. Go find Paul, get him a drink – maybe two, dance with him, whisper some nonsense in his ear about how much he means to you, and leave him a lovesick mess – counting the minutes before he gets to join you in Washington. Consider that an order."
"He is already a lovesick mess," Kate said with a smile. "I think that I am too."
"Well," Janice said. "You're not going to see him for a few weeks. Katie, I know that you're cautious about the physical stuff – but would it be so horrible if you spent the next couple of days in his bed? You both deserve it. We're way past senior prom. I think that even Uncle Casey would understand this time."
"I'm not worried about Uncle Casey," Kate said with a grin. "It's my dad who will have a stroke."
"Don't worry about your dad," Janice said. "I'll talk to him. After all, I know what he was like – it was sickening."
Sarah didn't try and hold back the tears. After all, that would have been pointless. Of course, she had known for months that this day was coming – all babies leave the nest sometime. But it was still hard. It seemed like only yesterday that she was learning how to give baby Katie a bath. Now here she was – getting on a plane. Sure, she would come home again – to visit. But she would never live there again.
Sarah hated to cry in public. Well, actually, she didn't like to cry at any time – but especially in public. So she buried her head in Chuck's chest for as long as she could while he gently rubbed her back.
"Come on, Mom," Kate said with a smile as she pulled out of Paul's arms long enough to put her hand on Sarah's shoulder. "I'm just moving to Washington – I'm not dying. I'll be back before you know it. We'll talk on the phone every day. And I'm sure that Chuck Junior and Bryce can find enough trouble to keep your mind occupied."
Sarah was finally able to compose herself enough to lift her head off Chuck's chest. "Promise me something," she said. "Take good care of her. I don't want to hear about her getting into any trouble."
Janice nodded. "Don't worry," she said. "I got you through those years, didn't I? Kate will be fine."
Sarah just grinned through her tears. "Actually," she said. "I was talking to Kate."
"Do you understand your assignment?" the voice on the phone asked.
"Yes, sir," she answered. "It's really pretty simple. Make friends with her and get her to screw every man that shows any interest. This should be fun. After all, she is very beautiful. There will be no problem getting my guy to – umm – cooperate. How far off the deep end should I get her to go?"
"As far as you can," the voice said. "It would be great if you could get her to actually fall in love with the lifestyle. If we can get her to the point of questioning her loyalty... We might actually get her to betray someone. A sex tape would be nice to be able to threaten her boss with leaking. The internet would eat that up."
"What about drugs?" she asked.
"That would be perfect," the voice replied. "Imagine - not only Senator Casey's protégé – but Sarah Walker's daughter ends up a coke head... our revenge would be even sweeter. Pregnant would also be a nice touch. Do you have any issues?"
"A couple," she replied. "Her parents are pretty savvy. What if they suspect what is going on? And there is a boyfriend. By all accounts they are very close."
"Don't worry," the voice said. "We are already dealing with those problems on our end. We have some plans for the parents. We have a mission planned for them that will keep them busy. Who knows – maybe we can break them up as well. We're also going to be taking care of the boyfriend."
"Taking care of him?" she asked. "What does that mean? Seduction? Or something else? I really don't see him as being a good candidate for seduction."
"I think we'll try diversion," the voice replied. "But maybe after you've broken her – we'll give you a shot at the boyfriend. That might be fun. Don't worry. Whatever happens – you'll have deniability. You just worry about getting her loosened up and between the sheets with your guy. Let me worry about that other stuff."
"A heartbroken girl on her own for the first time," she said. "You're making this too easy."
"You're welcome," the voice said sarcastically. "Of course, I can't emphasize enough how discreet this activity has to be."
"Yes, sir - I understand."
"We're all set up for you to attend the welcome ball," the voice said. "Contact me again when she is under your control. Until then, good luck."